Categories
Blogging Holidays Social anxiety

Thirteen Today

Not me, of course. I left that age long ago and am happy to say, “Good riddance.” It wasn’t a good time, although there were often good moments.

I need to remember that. We – I and my possible memoir partner – have come to the conclusion that the difficult parts of our childhoods are easier to remember. They stick in our memories, while the happy times pass with enjoyment and laughter. They’re not so clingy.

Is that how it is for everyone? Do you remember the sad times more than the happy ones? Or perhaps we all have a general impression of how things were, and need to dig deeper to remember episodes that don’t fit the mould.

So, who is thirteen today? Wrong question. It’s not who but what. On March 23, 2009, I posted this:

Speech is Silver; Silence is…

…not golden. Just a fake gold that soon dulls.  Like the necklace I bought in Cyprus. They told me it was gold. I knew they were lying, but I bought it anyway. I felt I had to buy something because they gave me tea….

I’ve been keeping silent for most of my life. It’s time to talk.

So tune in again, keep in touch and don’t suffer in silence.

I was afraid when I wrote that first blog post. On one hand, I knew it would help to feed my growing passion to raise awareness of social anxiety. On the other, I was scared of a backlash. Even in those days, social media was a double-edged sword. I was afraid anonymous people would tell me social anxiety didn’t exist – that it was a made-up term and the problems were not real, either. That’s why I had no name at first, except for the name of the blog: An’ de Walls Came Tumblin’ Down.

Fortunately, the feared ridicule hasn’t happened – not yet, not on social media, I’m glad to say.

Looking back at the person I was then, across the long bridge of thirteen years, I feel proud. Plenty has changed. I’ve become a published author, I’ve delivered talks, I’ve grown in confidence. I’ve also become a grandmother, met lots of people in various settings, and travelled widely.

I’m still walking that bridge and probably always will, but it feels less of a struggle, these days. I’ve accepted that social anxiety is here to stay and learned to make friends with it.

Crossing a river during a hike in Norway, 2001

How about you? How have you changed in the past thirteen years, and do you tend to remember the sad parts of your childhood more than the happy ones? Do let me know in the comments below.

Categories
100-word stories Books

100 Word Challenge – Week #135

Click on the image to join in the challenge

What a beautiful picture for this week’s prompt:

Following Instructions

“Which way now?”

“It says to cross by the bridge.”

“Erm, that might be a bit hard.”

“I see what you mean. We’ll just have to take our shoes off and wade over.”

***

“Here we are, on the bridge. Pity you fell in.”

“I’m cold and wet through. My sandwiches must be soaking. And now we’re here, I see this bridge doesn’t lead anywhere.”

“That’s true. We’ll have to wade to the other side.”

“Look! Over there. Do you see what I see?”

“That long, sturdy metal bridge? Must be the one we should have taken.”

“Great. Just great.”

.

Just 22 days to my book launch…

Categories
Israel

A Walk in my City

I look down on the conglomeration that is my city. Men in suits and black hats in the burning sun, women in short skirts and sleeveless tops – along with women more suited to the above-mentioned men and men suited to the above-mentioned women. Lorries, buses, cars, taxis, motorbikes. Buildings, old and new:

Buildings - old and new

The bridge on which I’m standing has been open for three years and yet this is the first time I’m walking along it. I need to get out more before I stop recognising my city.

My problem is to decide what to call it in English. In Hebrew, it’s called Gesher Hameitarim – The String Bridge. But that’s string as in a violin string. Online, I find two options: The Bridge of Strings or The Chord Bridge. I like the way “chord” combines music and geometry.

As I stand at the top of the bridge watching the changing view, people pass me, alone or in couples, quiet or chatting, on foot or on cycle. They don’t seem to notice the view. They’re probably used to it.

Eventually I leave the bridge and follow the tramlines along Jaffa Road. There are plenty of stops for the tram or light railway, all empty because the opening of the light railway has been postponed yet again. Ghost trams pass by, their seats still covered with plastic, their destinations flashing alternately in Hebrew, English and Arabic.

I sit down at one of the stops, providing it with some company for a few minutes. Buses have been rerouted away from here and it would be quiet if it weren’t for the drilling across the road. An old man approaches. “Is this hat yours?” He fishes a sun hat from under my seat with his walking stick and takes it with him.

The market is crowded, even though it’s only Tuesday. People are busy rushing everywhere. In the middle of it all, an old woman is standing in stained clothes and a straw hat. Next to her is an old shopping trolley filled with plastic bags. A bag lady, I think, until I go round to the other side of her and see what she’s up to.

Artist in Machane Yehuda Market *

Yes, I definitely need to get out more.

( * Apologies for the rubbish bin in the photo. There was no other way to take it.)